Qavavau Manumie’s Creative Community


Qavavau Manumie is an Inuit artist living in Kinngait, Nunavut. His precision and care as a stonecut printmaker have garnered him a world-renowned reputation amongst artists living in northern Canada. His styles and subjects range from the literal to idiosyncratic, amusing, and richly imaginative depictions of Inuit legends and mythology, Arctic wildlife, and contemporary aspects of Inuit life.

Keep reading to learn more about his process in our full interview. We’ll be mailing a surprise art print by Qavavau Manumie to our subscribers in February so be sure to subscribe by January 31st!

Interview with Artist Qavavau Manumie

Tell us about your artworks. 

My art often brings together things from real life and things from my imagination. I sometimes start with the landscape around me, with its rocks and snow, then add new pieces that aren’t actually there, like weird buildings or even ghosts. It’s my way of creating completely new places and strange activities that maybe trick the people who look at my prints and drawings. I want people to recognize what I’m doing in my art but at the same time be a little bit confused about what I’m really trying to say.

How did you learn to be an artist?

The best way to learn how to make art is from the great artists who are around you! When I moved to Cape Dorset, as a young child, I was surrounded by so much creativity, which was very inspiring. All the very best artists from Dorset were my mentors and helped me to be the artist I am today. Part of my job is to make sure that the young artists around me can have that same education.

Portrait of Qavavau Manumie photographed by Claire Foussard
Photo by Claire Foussard

What do you love about being an artist?

Being an artist from Cape Dorset means that I’m part of an important history that is the story of my community. When I work on a stonecut or a drawing, it reminds me that Dorset is recognized as a very creative place and it’s my job to continue the tradition. When I am told that my work is in exhibitions or that people put my work in their collections, I am very proud to be an artist, an artist from Cape Dorset.

Tell us about your studio. 

I work a lot in the West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative’s Kinngait Studios, that’s where I do all my printmaking. It’s such a great place and it has all the best equipment. When I draw, I can do that at home, and I can do that whenever I want; I can think of things to draw at any time.

Inuit artist and printmaker Qavavau Manumie posing by a stonecut in Kinngait Studio, photographed by Claire Foussard
Photo by Claire Foussard

What is your creative process? 

When I’m making stonecut prints, there is a lot of preparing and the drawing has to be made into stone, which means lots of carving. The prints are always based on drawings but the final print can sometimes look very different from the drawing I’m using. But when I make drawings, I see something in my head and I do my best to make it a drawing with colour pencil and marker. I don’t use a sketchbook because I just want to make the drawing.

Inuit artist and printmaker Qavavau Manumie holding up one of his prints in Kinngait Studio, photographed by Claire Foussard
Photo by Claire Foussard

Do you have any advice for younger artists?

Younger artists are the future for Cape Dorset! I hope that we have many young people becoming artists because it’s an important job to continue making art in our community. I would love it if young people everywhere would know that being an artist is a very important way to help your community and the people around you.

Qavavau Manumie is our February 2020 artist. Sign up for a Papirmass Art Print Subscription today so you don’t miss his print!

Check out more of Qavavau’s artwork in our online gallery and follow us @papirmass for more news about our February issue.